This blog will present a collection of worthwhile and important items of interest to people who care about major problems facing humanity.

Rather than news, it will contain what might be called imps, where imps is to news as important is to new. Imps focuses on what is important rather than what is new.

Of course newspapers to some extent are concerned with what is important, as well as whatever news will attract an audience, whatever will sell. But an important consideration in news reporting is always the newness of what is reported: the news is what happened today, or very recently: current events. Similarly, many postings here will be about what is new, but the key consideration will be importance rather than newness.

Many current events — the latest smashup, airplane disappearance, wardrobe malfunction, scandal — are not of great importance. And what is truly important may not involve an event that would make it news. However important, a long term trend like global warming is not itself a newsworthy event. To be newsworthy it needs some associated particular event, a storm perhaps (with a suspected relationship to global warming), or an international conference, or publication of a UN report. Thus the news tends to neglect much of the truly important. The increasing seriousness of global warming does not guarantee it will feature much in the news. Nicholas Kristof acknowledges such underrepresentation nicely in ‘Neglected Topic’ Winner: Climate Change:

…we in the news media manage to cover weather very aggressively, while we’re reticent on climate

The pervasive focus on what is new and entertaining rather than on what is important is a good illustration of the all too common failure of profit maximization to achieve the best result.

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